Three people were gunned down in Marseille Sunday night, including two 15-year-olds. A “judicial source” told the AFP that two cars rolled up to the Lauriers estate, firing automatic weapons and striking down the three victims. Bernard Cazeneuve, France’s Minister of the Interior, stated that officials are operating under the “hypothesis that these murders were related to drug trafficking.”
Marseille has long had a troubled history with gangland violence related to the drug trade. In February, gangs exchanged fire with the police during a visit from Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who was set to meet police chiefPierre-Marie Bourniquel, who was believed to be the target of the Kalashnikov attack. Since the beginning of 2015, Marseille has seen ten drug networks busted up, 132 arrests made, and 39 kilos of cocaine seized, according to the interior ministry.
Two burned-out cars were later found 12 miles north of city, and nearly two dozens cartridges were recovered from the scene of the killings. According to the AFP, the uncle of the third victim—a 24-year-old—said that his nephew had been the target of the attack.
In 2012, the Independent reported that drug-related violence in Marseille was proportionate to that of New York City, a metropolis with ten times the French city’s population. That comes to a total of 24 murders, all told, each carried out with the help of Kalashnikovs—better know as AK-47s. According to a report by L’Observatoire National de la Délinquance et des Réponses Pénales, violent crime in Marseille fell 16.4% during the first four months of the 2014 compared to 2013.